SALTLAKE CITY (January 25, 2018) – As part of his 2018 State of the State message, Gov. Gary Herbert declared 2018 the Year of Technical Education, naming it his second-highest legislative priority. In response, a broad group of 17 business associations has issued a joint letter applauding the governor’s commitment to Utah students and the state economy, pledging to support the effort themselves.

“The one issue we still need to address to make our booming state economy even stronger is the challenge businesses face finding qualified, skilled workers,” said Edson Barton, president and CEO of  Precision Exams, the Utah-based business that administers career and technical education [CTE] exams and certifications across Utah schools. “The better we help students see how the skills they learn in a CTE class can lead to an exciting career, the more motivated they are to learn and the more likely they are to connect with businesses that really need people with these skills to help their organizations grow.”

In the letter sent to the governor, business associations pledged to support the state’s efforts by engaging directly with CTE students across the state to provide a more authentic and appreciable understanding of careers that can result from CTE pathways, to provide endorsement and recognition of career and technical education programs from industry, and to highlight CTE careers, challenging the idea that these are inferior career options.

“It’s unfortunate that we still have to fight some misperceptions about the kinds of careers available to students who excel in CTE courses and who pursue CTE pathways,” said Todd Bingham, president and CEO of the Utah Manufacturers Association. “If you take a kid into a manufacturing facility today they will likely be surprised by just how high-tech and exciting the industry really is. And there’s a great deal of opportunity there, as well. We applaud the governor for making this a priority.”

The coalition consists of the following organizations:

  • Associated General Contractors of Utah

  • BioUtah

  • Davis Chamber of Commerce

  • Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce

  • Precision Exams

  • Salt Lake Board of Realtors

  • Salt Lake Chamber

  • Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce

  • Utah Food Industry Association

  • Utah Hospital Association

  • Utah Manufacturers Association

  • Utah Mining Association

  • Utah Petroleum Association

  • Utah Restaurant Association

  • Utah Retail Merchants Association

  • Utah Technology Council

  • Utah Trucking Association

  • Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce